Development Guide

This chapter contains some explanations of the project structure and activities related to development of the project.

Running Integration Tests

The script defines a test task for invoke, which runs tests located in the tests/commands/*.txt files.

These test scripts are edited console logs of shell calls, and the test runner executes any line starting with a $. It then checks that any line following the command is contained in its output. The return code is checked via a RC=n line.

Any line starting with # is a comment.

The lines asserting output can contain to mark omissions – any whitespace around it is ignored. That means that foo bar checks that both foo and bar are contained somewhere in the command’s output.

Here’s the sample output you want to have (no failures):

$ invoke test
--- Running tests in 'tests/commands/array.txt'...

--- Running tests in 'tests/commands/misc.txt'...

--- Running tests in 'tests/commands/string.txt'...

--- Running tests in 'tests/commands/math.txt'...

☺ ☺ ☺  ALL OK. ☺ ☺ ☺

And this is what a failure looks like:

$ invoke test -n misc
--- Running tests in 'tests/commands/misc.txt'...
FAIL: »!1’20”« not found in output of »rtxmlrpc convert.time_delta '' +1527903580 +1527903500«


☹ ☹ ☹  1 TEST(S) FAILED. ☹ ☹ ☹

This also shows how you can run only one selected test suite, using the --name or -n option.

The Build Script

The script contains all the minute details and settings to successfully build selected dependencies and the libtorrent / rtorrent source on many platforms.

And no, it is not a Makefile, since there’s no benefit in that, for the things the script does. [g]make is used within the contributing projects.

See Build from Source on the ‘normal’ use of the script for building a binary. Other uses like building packages (with or without Docker) or the most recent upstream source are described in the following sections.

To build a new extended binary after you downloaded updates via a git pull --ff-only, just call ./ extend – this will apply any new patches included in that update, but not re-build all the dependencies.

If you’re sure that the diff only contains source code changes (in patches/*.cc), only calling make in the rTorrent source directory is way faster. In case dependency versions changed in, you have to go the slowest route with ./ clean_all all to get them onto your machine.

For everything else, call ./ help to get a usage summary similar to this:

$ ./ help
Environment for building rTorrent PS-1.0-349-g12ccbe8-2018-06-30-1143 0.9.6/0.13.6
export PACKAGE_ROOT=/opt/rtorrent
export INSTALL_ROOT=/home/pyroscope

Usage: ./ (all | clean | clean_all | download | build | check | extend)
Build rTorrent PS-1.0-… 0.9.6/0.13.6 into ~/.local/rtorrent/0.9.6-PS-1.1-dev

Custom environment variables:
    CURL_OPTS="-sLS" (e.g. --insecure)
    CFG_OPTS="" (e.g. --enable-debug --enable-extra-debug)
    CFG_OPTS_LT="" (e.g. --disable-instrumentation for MIPS, PowerPC, ARM)

Build actions:
    build_all   a/k/a ‹all› – Download and build and install all deps + vanilla + extended
    build       Build and install all components
    build_git   a/k/a ‹git› – Build and install libtorrent and rtorrent from git checkouts
    check       Print some diagnostic success indicators
    clean_all   Remove all downloads and created files
    clean       Clean up generated files
    deps        Build all dependencies
    deps_git    Build all dependencies [GIT HEAD MODE]
    docker_deb  Build Debian packages via Docker
    download    Download and unpack sources
    env         Show build environement
    extend      Rebuild and install libtorrent and rTorrent with patches applied
    install     Install to /opt/rtorrent
    pkg2deb     Package current /opt/rtorrent installation for APT [needs fpm]
    pkg2pacman  Package current /opt/rtorrent installation for PACMAN [needs fpm]
    vanilla     Build vanilla rTorrent [also un-patches src dirs]

Creating a Release

  • Finish docs/ and set the release date
  • Run invoke cmd_docs >docs/include-commands.rst, and commit any additions
  • Make sure every command has docs in the manual (invoke undoc)
  • Tag the release, push tags, put changelog up on GitHub
  • Build packages and upload to Bintray (using
  • Change DEB download links in pimp-my-box
  • Make a stable snapshot of docs under the new version
  • Bump version to next release in docs/
  • Announce to reddit etc.

Building the Debian Package

A Debian package for easy installation is built using fpm, so you have to install that first on the build machine, if you don’t have it yet:

apt-get install ruby ruby-dev
gem install fpm
fpm -h | grep fpm.version

Then you need to prepare the install target, as follows (we assume building under the rtorrent user here):

mkdir -p /opt/rtorrent
chmod 0755 /opt/rtorrent
chown -R rtorrent.rtorrent /opt/rtorrent

Then, the contents of the package are built by calling ./ install, which will populate the /opt/rtorrent directory. When that is done, you can test the resulting executable located at /opt/rtorrent/bin/rtorrent.

Finally, ./ pkg2deb creates the Debian package in /tmp. The script expects the packager’s name and email in the usual environment variables, namely DEBFULLNAME and DEBEMAIL. For a few platforms (recent Debian, Ubuntu, and Raspbian), you can find pre-built ones at Bintray.

Building git HEAD of rTorrent

You can also build the latest source of the main rTorrent project (including its libtorrent), with all the settings and rpath linking of the rtorrent-ps builds, but just like vanilla when it comes to applying patches (only essential ones are applied, like the OpenSSL one).

This is intended to be used for checking compatibility of patches with the head of the core project, and preparing PRs for it. You will not get a stable system and these builds are in no way recommended for production use.

Start by checking out the two projects as siblings of the rtorrent-ps workdir, leading to a folder structure like this:

├── libtorrent
├── rakshasa-rtorrent
└── rtorrent-ps

As you can see, the sibling folders can have an optional rakshasa- prefix.

Then use these commands within rtorrent-ps to build all dependencies and the git HEAD code from the sibling folders:

INSTALL_DIR=$HOME/.local/rtorrent-git ./ clean_all deps_git build_git

Just like with the vanilla and extended version, you’ll get a ‘branded’ binary called rtorrent-git, and a symlink at ~/bin/rtorrent will point to it.

The INSTALL_DIR is set explicitly, so that a release version and git HEAD can be installed and used concurrently, without any conflicts.

Using Docker for Building Packages

The docker_deb build action uses Dockerfile.Debian to compile and package rTorrent-PS on a given Debian or Ubuntu release. Similarly, docker_arch does the same for Arch Linux using Dockerfile.ArchLinux.

docker_deb takes an optional ‹distro›:‹codename› argument, and defaults to debian:stretch. You can also use all, stable, or oldstable to name classes of distributions, defined in the related docker_distros_* lists at the start of

docker_arch takes no release names due to its rolling release nature, but check out the ARG CODENAME=20200205 at the top of Dockerfile.ArchLinux that makes the build more reproducible – you might want to update that to latest or a newer release date.

Any additional arguments to the call are passed on to the underlying docker build command. Since docker_* takes arguments, you cannot call any further actions after it, in the same call.


You need Docker version 17.06 or higher to use this.